Eating Las Vegas

John Curtas is …

ESPRESSAMENTE ILLY

ESPRESSAMENTE ILLY

In the Palazzo Hotel Shoppes (When they add the “-pes” to the word “shop;” you know they saw you comin’)

3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.869.2233

Illy is one of two major coffee chains in Italy; Lavazza is the other. It makes espresso so good it will make you weep. Illy has 150 coffee bars like this one throughout Europe but this one (in the Palazzo) is the first in the United States. Others are planned for Miami and both coasts, but as with fine French food and a myriad of other happenings in the restaurant world these days….Vegas got the first one. Lucky us. No mixes, no blenders, no powders and no C/D’s for sale. ‘Nuff said.

Food For Thought-Reno 911!

Hangover got you down? Too tired or lazy to read my post on Reno restaurants a few entries below this? We understand how a night of video poker, PBR and Jager shots can do that to even the most dedicated foodie. Therefore, as a public service, we hereby offer a direct audio link to my News 88.9 FM Nevada Public Radio weekly “Food For Thought” segment.

Click here to hear this week’s KNPR radio commentary.

KLAS TV Channel 8 (CBS) Restaurant(s) of the Week-DONG TING SPRING and YUN NAN GARDEN

Authentic, fiery, funky and fresh Chinese appeals to the average American palate about as much as a plate of lutefisk. But right next door to each other on Schiff Dr. (just south of Valley View and Spring Mountain Rd.) are two such places that are packed nightly with fellow Asian travelers who know and appreciate the real Magillicuddy in these things.

Dong Ting Spring features the cured pork and dried chili specialties of Hunan Province, along with more than a few chili-covered fresh fish dishes and hotpots that seem to pop up on every table.

Yun Nan Garden is from the region bordering Myanmar, Tibet, Vietnam and Laos, and is known for its polyglot of ethnic minorities and a cuisine that reflects influences from all of them. The food at both is not for the timid, and together they pack a one-two punch of hot and spicy goodness that took me straight back to Hong Kong.

Both are squeaky clean and modern (at least by the standards of most Chinatown places), and have young bilingual staffs that are unfailingly polite. Be prepared to feel like a fish out of water, and also be firm when they try to steer you to the round-eye friendly portion of the menu. Aficianodos of Kung Pao chicken and sweet and sour pork need not apply.

Each restaurant has English translations of dishes that for decades were only printed in Chinese characters on the walls of places in cities with large, established Chinatowns. Thus were some of the true tastes of the world’s greatest cuisine inaccessible to the adverturesome haolie….until now!

DONG TING SPRING

3950 Schiff Dr.

Las Vegas, NV 89103

702.437.7888

YUN NAN GARDEN

3934 Schiff Dr.

Las Vegas, NV 89103

702.869.8885

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